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Gender Roles, Homosexuality, and the Anglican Church in Sydney

  • David Hilliard (a1)


In September 1992 a periodical published by a conservative evangelical campus ministry led by an Anglican clergyman based at the University of New South Wales in Sydney published an editorial under the heading ‘Is homosexuality next?’ It began with an imaginary dialogue:



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1 Is homosexuality next?’. The Briefing (Sydney), no. 99 (22 Sept 1992), p. 13.

2 Porter, Muriel, Women in the Church: The Great Ordination Debate in Australia (Melbourne, 1989), and The end of the “great debate”: the 1992 General Synod decision on women priests’, in Hutchinson, Mark and Campion, Edmund, eds, Long, Patient Struggle: Studies in the Role of Women in Australian Christianity (Sydney, 1994), pp. 16185.

3 Southern Cross (Sydney), Feb. 1989, pp. 6–7, April 1989, pp. 21–3; Porter, Women in the Church, pp. 117–19. The Sydney synod had first passed the women deacons canon in 1985, but on that occasion it was vetoed by Archbishop Robinson.

4 Piggin, Stuart, Evangelical Christianity in Australia: Spirit, Word and World (Melbourne, 1996), illuminates many areas of Sydney Anglicanism. See also Judd, Stephen and Cable, Kenneth, Sydney Anglicans: A History of the Diocese (Sydney, 1987), and Loane, Marcus L., Hewn from the Rock Origins and Traditions of the Church in Sydney (Sydney, 1976).

5 Loane, Marcus L., A Centenary History of Moore Theological College (Sydney, 1955).

6 Knox, D. Broughton, ‘Tropositional revelation the only revelation’, Reformed Theological Review, 19 (1960), pp. 19 . The main features of D. B. Knox’s theology are summarized in Piggin, Evangelical Christianity in Australia, pp. 184–8. For a critique, see Banks, Robert J., ‘The theology of D. B. Knox: a preliminary estimate’, in O’Brien, Peter T. and Peterson, David G., eds, God who is Rich in Mercy: Essays Presented to Dr D. B. Knox (Sydney, 1986), pp. 377403.

7 Connell, R. W., Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics (Sydney, 1987), pp. 1838 , and idem, Masculinities (Berkeley, CA, 1995), p. 77.

8 Lake, Marilyn, ‘The politics of respectability: identifying die masculinist context’, Historical Studies, no. 86 (1986), pp. 11631 ; O’Brien, Anne, ‘“A church full of men”: masculinism and the church in Australian history’, Australian Historical Studies, no. 100 (1993), pp. 43757 . For similar trends in North America, see Rotundo, E. Anthony, American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era (New York, 1993), ch. 11.

9 Piggin, Evangelical Christianity in Australia, pp. 72–3.

10 Porter, Women in the Church, pp. 44–6.

11 Fitzgerald, Shirley and Wotherspoon, Garry, eds, Minorities: Cultural Diversity in Sydney (Sydney, 1995).

12 Wotherspoon, Garry, ‘City of the Plain’: History of a Cay Sub-Culture (Sydney, 1991), chs 1–3.

13 The connection is explored in Hilliard, David, ‘UnEnglish and unmanly. AngloCatholicism and homosexuality’, Victorian Studies, 25 (1982), pp. 181210.

14 For example, The Oxford Movement and women’, Australian Church Record (Sydney), 2 June 1932, p. 5.

15 Thompson, Denise, Flaws in the Social Fabric: Homosexuals and Society in Sydney (Sydney, 1985), ch, 5; Hilliard, David, ‘Australian Anglicans and homosexuality: a tale of two cities’, St Mark’s Review (Canberra), no. 163 (1995), pp. 1220.

16 Stuart Piggin, ‘From independence to domesticity: masculinity in Australian history and the female ordination debate’, in Hutchinson and Campion, Long, Patient Struggle, pp. 151–60.

17 Wotherspoon, ‘City of the Plain’, ch. 4.

18 Rickard, John, ‘The Boys in the Band revisited’, Meanjin (Melbourne), 52 (1993), pp. 6617.

19 Burgmann, y, Power and Protest: Movements for Change in Australian Society (Sydney, 1993), ch. 2 on the women’s movement, ch. 3 on the lesbian and gay movements.

20 Australian, 13 Nov. 1972.

21 Southern Cross, Feb. 1973, pp. 14–15.

22 Church of England, Diocese of Sydney, Ethics and Social Questions Committee, Report on Homosexuality (Sydney, 1973).

23 Ibid., pp. 21–2.

24 Church of England, Diocese of Sydney, Year Book of the Diocese of Sydney, 1978, p. 249.

25 Year Book of the Diocese of Sydney, 1986, pp. 245–6, 309–13.

26 Porter, Women in the Church, ck 3; Piggin, Evangelical Christianity in Australia, ch 9; Ruth I. Sturmcy, “Women and the Anglican Church in Australia: theology and social change’ (University of Sydney Ph.D. thesis, 1989).

27 Church of England in Australia, Synod, General, The Ministry of Women: A Report of the General Synod Commission on Doctrine (Sydney, 1977), pp. 2933.

28 Southern Cross, Dec. 1975-Jan. 1976, p. 25.

29 Australian Church Record, 9 Aug. 1982, p. 5; also 28 April 1977, p. 5; 11 July 1983, p. 5; 25 July 1983. p- 5.

30 Australian Church Record, 2 April 1984, pp. 1, 12; Porter, Women in the Church, pp. 103–4; Piggin, Evangelical Christianity in Australia, pp. 208–9.

31 Julia Woodlands Baird, “Pigeons, priests and prophets: the politicisation of women in the Anglican Church’ (University of Sydney B. A. Hons thesis, 1992), appendix.

32 Morris, Leon, Gaden, John, and Thiering, Barbara, A Women’s Place (Sydney, 1976).

33 Australian Church Record, 6 May 1985, pp. 1, 12.

34 Movement for the Ordination of Women [Newsletter], Sept. 1986, p. 12; Australian Church Record, 6 Oct 1986, p. 1.

35 Editorial, Australian Church Record, 11 June 1984, p. 8.

36 ‘Revision tests’, The Briefing, no. 100 (6 Oct. 1992), pp. 5–6.

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Studies in Church History
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  • EISSN: 2059-0644
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